After Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Chelsea boss, several journalists reported that Jose Mourinho wasn’t keen on Juan Mata. It wasn’t just the Chelsea fans who couldn’t believe it. He was one of the best players in the league and had just won Chelsea’s player of the season for a second consecutive season. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want a player like Mata in their squad?
But as the weeks went by, with Mourinho leaving Mata out of the starting team time and again, as well as subbing him off when he did get a start, it became clear that there had been truth to those rumours.
On New Year’s Day, after an early substitution for Mata, the player made it clear he was not at all happy as he stomped off the pitch. When he returned to the bench, he was visibly angry and his team mates tried to calm him down. Mourinho was asked about the player’s future after the game and whilst claiming he wanted Mata to stay, confirmed that the player could leave if he wanted.
“I don’t want him to go, that is my opinion and that is my wish – but my door is open,” he said. “The club door is open too, so when a player wants to speak with us we are there waiting for them.”
United fans, whose hopes of signing a world class player hadn’t been permanently destroyed by the antics of the summer, were obviously excited by this. Whilst common sense would tell you that Chelsea would not sell us Mata after we had rejected their approach for Wayne Rooney or that PSG would easily blow us out of the water, in terms of transfer fee and salary, there’s always that little bit of hope for some fans. Maybe it’s just the desperation of our current situation that does it.
However, this evening, it appears as though signing Mata is a real possibility for United. Sky Sports News reported that talks between United and Chelsea were going well, despite us still being unprepared to let Rooney leave the club.
United are expected to pay at least £40m for the talented Spaniard who is keen to leave Chelsea to get some playing time ahead of the World Cup this summer. Apparently United officials have been in London over the last two days to conduct negotiations for Mata and this evening have made some considerable progress.
It still is fairly baffling that Chelsea would be prepared to sell one of the best players in the league to us but there may be a couple of reasonable enough explanations for it. He has only started half of Chelsea’s games in the league this season, whilst Eden Hazard has played in 22/22 and Oscar 21/22. It’s not as if Mata is the only cover they have for this position though, with them spoilt for choice with attacking options. Selling Mata would be a good way to recoup a big chunk of cash for a player who isn’t essential to the team.
This year their net spent is -£70m, the year before it was -£70m+, -£60m+ the season before that and -£90m the season before that. With the threat of FFP, maybe this offer is just too good for Chelsea to turn down.